Passing Over the Basin and the Towel

Since I came into SYFC, I have experienced two smooth leadership transitions. In 1999, Albert Lee handed over the work to Christopher Tan and in 2005 Christopher Tan handed over to current National Director, Lim Chien Chong. Each round, God raised His servant-leader who took us forward with stability and strength.

Our National Directors (and incoming!) over the years:
(Left to right) Albert Lee: 1987-1999, Christopher Tan: 1999-2005, Lim Chien Chong: 2005-2020; Richard Tan: 2021!

Come 2021, I look forward to continuing with my fourth National Director. Once again I thank God that the ‘basin and towel’ are being passed responsibly; a younger team is ready and the time is right.

After Chien Chong became the National Director, Stephanie Tan led the ministry with him as Executive Director from 2011 to 2018. Both “were very intentional in looking out for and identifying younger leaders to step forward.” Since leadership transition is intuitively necessary and biblically taught, Chien Chong believes that “the earlier I think of leadership transition, the better it is for SYFC.” 

Chien Chong Sharing with a group at e-action, an evangelistic camp conducted by Malaysia YFC.

In our 60th year in 2017, we restructured into S.T.E.M., C.O.R.E. and E.D.G.E. ministries and appointed five younger leaders to the executive leadership team, giving Chien Chong and Stephanie a period of co-working with the five. Since then, both staggered their stepping aside so that we will not have too many changes to handle at the same time.

Our Ministries:
S.T.E.M. Support, Teaching & Engagement Ministries 

E.D.G.E. Evolving & Digital Generation Evangelism

C.O.R.E. Continual, Organic & Responsible Evangelism

Hoon Hian Teck, our Board Chairman, aptly described this leadership transition as “purposefully planned… timely and needful.” 

Hian Teck (left) and Richard (right) chatting at Playmax5, 2017.

Having observed our younger team over the last few years, he affirms, “I see very evidently a love for God’s Word…Their own lives are genuinely shaped by the Word. Seeing how they complement each other in their different strengths is also hugely encouraging.”

Besides having F.A.T.S., our younger leaders have sufficient years of ministry exposure and depth behind them. Chien Chong is heartened that they are now “more willing, courageous and committed to do more to grow SYFC further.” Stephanie sees them taking up much more responsibilities, thinking for the whole organisation and vocalising their ideas and inputs more at meetings. Presently, they are already handling many aspects of day-to-day operation and decision-making, albeit nervously.

Faithfulness, Availability, Teachability and Servant-heartedness are traits we look for in our leaders more than mere competency and professionalism since the latter without the former will result in complacency, self-sufficiency and pride.

Our new team is ready! And in 2020, they grew significantly.

During the National Circuit Breaker, Stephanie found that “the push to use technology for ministry was fast and furious on the ground and because of the younger team’s quick and effective response, our outreach work kept pace despite of all the restrictions we faced.” Chien Chong noted that “… they were able to rally the staff to keep the momentum of ministry going and move many aspects of our work online” such that “we have even seen growth in some areas of work.”

(Left Picture) Eric taking a group at E-action. (Right Picture) Ee Han sharing the gospel at Teensportz 2018.

Staff and volunteers are responding well to this team and excited about the years ahead. Senior staff are also willing to support them. In Chien Chong’s evaluation, we have in place relatively “well-oiled” administrative and ministry processes, good governance and a growing relationship with external agencies and churches. He is looking to the Lord to use this team, who has grown up in an era of technology themselves, to inject freshness to reach the youth of today.

(Top Picture) Laurent (right most) at Playmax5.
(Bottom Picture) James (right most) with a Teensportz Winning team.

It is timely for this younger team to lead in this ‘new normal’.

Hian Teck looks forward to supporting this team who is “attuned to the challenges faced by this digital generation of young people” and “have been finding new platforms to reach them with the good news of Jesus Christ, exemplifying the SYFC theme of being geared to the times, anchored to the Rock.”

I commend to you Richard Tan, James Lee, Laurent Tan, Tee Ee Han and Eric Teo. Pray for each of them to have an ever-growing personal relationship with God and His Word, courage to obey Him in all circumstances, and love for the staff and the lost, especially the youth.

Sooli and Michael Yong (left to right) have been serving together in SYFC with all the three National Directors. It will soon be their fourth.